"Let the family know"

About: Heartlands Hospital / Cardiology

(as a relative),

My brother passed away not long ago on ward 6. The staff were really good both with him and with us. However, when he passed away my sister was phoned early in the morning informing her that the family should 'come in'. She raced across town, past probably putting herself and other road users at risk, in the hope of getting to his bedside before he died. Meanwhile, I phoned the ward and again was told that the family had been advised to come in. I explained that I lived a long drive away and would I make it, I. e.. how imminent was it. Again the bland answer, please come in. I threw my case into the car and raced down the road.

In fact my brother had already died when the phone call was made. I don't blame the staff. I blame the system. I think that patient confidentiality needs a risk assessment, especially when there is no patient! It is putting families at risk. Let us know. As it was my sister raced across to get my elderly mother to bring her in only to get there to find out he was already dead. Far better to go across, wake her and gently break the news. Fortunately for me she could let me know, so I could turn round, go home and set off again later when it was safer for me to travel.

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Response from Marie Helebert, Patient Services Officer, Patient Services, Heart of England Foundation Trust

Dear IHH

Thank you for your post and may I firstly extend my sincere condolences to you and your family on the death of your brother. I am very sorry for your loss.

I would like to look into your experience and concerns in more detail, and would very much appreciate it if you would mind contacting me at your convenience so that I may obtain some more information?

I can be contacted on 0121 424 0808 9am - 2pm Monday to Friday, or by email: marie.helebert@nhs.net

I hope this is acceptable and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindest regards

Marie Helebert

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